Buying an Automobile: Where to Start

A new car can be bought from a franchised dealership, and there’s always one or more brand nearby in every city. If you want to purchase a brand new car, a dealer ‘s shop is where you should go to first. But some of the best places to start looking for cheap buys are the second hand car store.

Pre-owned, or as others would say “pre-loved”, cars have become more than just an alternative for car buyers. Some consumers never purchase new cars and only go for second hand cars. The primary reason is price. A brand new car costs more than a second hand car. Some second hand cars are also so well-maintained that they look brand new. Many car owners sell even when the car is still in working order for several reasons, including the desire to get a better model and a lifestyle change (moving to another state or country).

If you’re a new buyer or if you want to know where to start shopping for a car, read on for our tips.

Used Car Dealers

Over the decades, the second hand automobile business has blossomed. There are as many second hand car shops are there are dealerships in one city, and for good reason. Because cars have become more than just transportation tools, many consumers are choosing the trendiest models. Some consumers swap out cars that have hardly been used for the sake of owning a better-looking car.

What to expect in a used-car superstore? Expect to see a wide array of car models. Some of the larger stores keep an inventory of over two hundred used cars. In fact, the whole store looks like a gigantic parking lot. If you’re planning on going, make sure you devote the whole day to window shopping because you want to see each car in the inventory individually.

Many of the cars in second hand shops are old models. These vehicles originate from car auctions that are exclusive to car dealers. One of the advantages of purchasing your car from the second hand store is you get a warranty for your second hand car. This isn’t always an option if you buy your used car through other means, like your neighbor selling you his old car because he’s buying a new one. When you check the warranty these second hand car stores provide, you’ll notice that the coverage is similar to that provided by warranty from brand new car dealers.

Buy a Brand New Car

Dealerships keep a large inventory, which is almost as large as that of a second hand car store. Of course, when you get to the store, most of the time you will only see the latest model on display. But brand new cars of recent models are nearly always available, especially the ones that cater to a bigger market, like SUVs. But if you’re looking for collector cars that you can customize and modify all you want, you’re not going to find one in a brand new car store.

What some buyers do not know is that new car dealers also sell second hand or used cars. Some auction off the cars traded to them to clear their inventory, while others offer them at lower prices to customers. The thing is that a car dealer will probably invest more cash into reconditioning (compared with a second hand car dealer). There is better probability of selling the car if it is in the best condition possible.

New car dealers accept trade ins for a reason. They can sell new models and have the opportunity of selling another, slightly used, car. Most people trade in their cars for the chance to own the latest model and not because their cars are no longer working well. Thus, most trade-ins to dealers are in nearly perfect condition and need only the most minimal reconditioning to pass as brand new again.

How about the price? Second hand car prices are always negotiable, even when you’re buying the vehicle from a new car dealer. Admittedly, getting your vehicle from a second hand car warehouse is almost always less expensive. Some new car dealers also try to divert your attention to a car model that doesn’t sell well in their inventory. They argue that you’ll get a brand new car at approximately the same price you would pay for the second hand car.

Small-scale Dealers

Many enterprising individuals that love cars usually ease into the role of a dealer. These small used car dealers can be found in every state, and they prefer to keep their operations on a small scale. Most of the time, they trade and sell no more than twenty cars. It is relatively less complicated to negotiate with small companies, and you’ll probably get the car at the price you want. However, take note that the car may not be as well-maintained. Whatever amount of cash you save on the purchase may eventually go to extensive repairs.

Insider Information for Car Buyers

Transportation has become a primary need, particularly in a metropolitan area. Employees who cannot afford to stay in the urban commercial center where rents are high prefer to live in the suburbs and drive to work every day. Some people buy cars for practical reasons, and others see cars as investments. If the vehicle being sold is cheap but serviceable, a shrewd car buyer would purchase it.

Some questions to ask if you are planning to buy a car, whether second hand or brand new, are the following. Is the car fit for your lifestyle? Will you be able to use it for years before it starts showing signs of wear? Is the warranty still good? Many buyers go for second hand cars because they cannot afford to pay the price of a brand new one. But any car purchase is important, whether the car is new or not.

Is the car worth the price?

If you’re wondering when you should buy a car, many experienced car buyers would tell you to buy at month’s end. Some rebates may be available during this time, and these rebates are no longer available when the next month starts. A dealer would want to meet his sales quota for the month, and thus, he gives out generous discounts.

Many dealers start thinking about this when the month’s about to end. Most people who want to buy cars start browsing after the 15th, as some good deals may already be available at that time.

Functionality is important

When you enter a dealer’s store, you should have an idea what kind of car you want to buy. Some people stick with their decisions even when exposed to different models that come with attractive extras. It’s easy to fall for a sales talk, especially when the dealer starts talking about features. But not all features that make a car more expensive than others are useful to you. Many dealers start hard selling their more expensive cars this way. The basic thing about buying a car is to only purchase the features that will be functional to you.

Don’t feel pressured to buy and make sure you use your common sense to see through a dealer’s sales talk. After all, the next month, the price may already change.

Sleep on your decision and decide the next day whether you still want the car or not. Buying on impulse is not always good but impulsive buying can happen to anyone, especially if the dealer states that the car may be gone by tomorrow. As we stated above, the next month’s end will bring more discounts and more cars to choose from.

Trusting your instincts

You can usually tell if the deal is good just by observing how the salesman is relating with you. Some non-verbal signs tell you that the car is worth less than its sticker price. Of course, your decision or liking for the car may be affected by the skill of the dealer. But focus on the car and your needs. If the car is too expensive for you, just walk away.

Also, look for options elsewhere. Some cities or towns have few car dealers, so you may have to wait a long time before your dealer caves in and agrees to enter negotiations that are obviously in your favor. However, there are generally more than one car dealers in an area, and their competition may be beneficial for you.

Price on the Invoice

One thing you should remember is that the invoice price may be different from the final price. The invoice price is the amount paid by the dealer to the car manufacturer. Any discount that you were supposed to get depended on the amount in the invoice receipt. Some dealers balk at showing you the invoice because it would give you a clue on how much profit the dealer made by selling you the car at a certain price. You can negotiate better if you know how much the car is really worth considering any discount or incentive, and the profit of the dealer.

Invoice price information is important if you plan on buying a later model used car. The mileage will probably be low and the car will still have manufacturer’s warranty.


The SRP stands for suggested retail price, and this usually comes from the manufacturer. The suggested retail price is the same as the price on the sticker. This amount is usually the price that is being advertised. The SRP is important because you can base your negotiation approach on this price. You can expect to pay less than this amount, but the amount you can save depends on how your negotiations go. The dealer expects a buyer to request a lower price than what’s advertised and will probably adjust their deals accordingly.

What are incentives?

Rebates, bonuses, and extras are parts of a deal that are meant to attract customers. Most of the time, these offers are for cars in the inventory that are not selling as fast as the other models. When you see these offers being promoted, you have to ask yourself why this car is offered at this price or with these incentives. Ask about dealer incentives for a car you want to purchase before buying it.

In general, dealers disclose these incentives, but some may withhold the information to make more profit. Nothing beats window shopping to compare and contrast the deals available for a particular car brand.

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